Trio of transfers brings unique, valuable skills to Syracuse

first_img Published on August 29, 2012 at 1:34 am Contact Josh: [email protected] Before the 2010 season, a trio of college players contacted Syracuse head coach Phil Wheddon with an interest in transferring to the SU program. They wanted to make a change and asked about joining his team.Heading into the 2012 season, Alyscha Mottershead, Skylar Sabbag and Brielle Heitman have become part of the SU soccer family.“The girls were all so welcoming when we came in,” Sabbag said. “It doesn’t even feel like we transferred, it feels like we’ve been here all along. We’re all so tight-knit.”Wheddon said the transfer rate is high in college soccer because players often commit at a young age, and by the time they come to campus, it’s not what they were promised or expecting. He said SU has been fortunate to gain quality players from other programs, and the three Orange transfers each brought something unique to the team when they arrived.Mottershead was the most decorated of the trio. The forward from Ontario competed globally for the U-17 Canadian National Program and decided to attend Iowa for her freshman season. Sabbag and Heitman both attended Central Michigan, but transferred to Syracuse because of the strong team bond.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThis season, the seniors will try to help the Orange build off a 7-8-3 season in which the team made the Big East tournament for the first time under Wheddon.“Luckily for us, the people that have transferred in have been quality people and quality players,” Wheddon said. “And they all contribute.”Mottershead is a two-year starter who brings a veteran presence and leadership to the team. Wheddon immediately recognized Mottershead’s professionalism and commitment to excellence, and named her a team captain in 2010.Her season at Iowa didn’t turn out as favorable as she wanted. The Hawkeyes went 9-11 and only 1-9 in the Big Ten. Mottershead said she realized Iowa wasn’t going to get her closer to achieving her goal of making the Canadian Senior National Team.She felt Syracuse’s coaching staff and development of the program made it a better place for her to do that.For Sabbag and Heitman, the journey was different than Mottershead’s.Not knowing each other, they both planned to attend Fairfield University, but they attended Central Michigan instead.“Like when two stars align,” Heitman said. “It’s like we were meant to be together.”The two immediately became best friends at Central Michigan, which eased the transition to Syracuse.“You get to spend as much time as you possibly can on and off the field together as best friends,” Heitman said. “Anytime together is the best kind of time.”Sabbag said the two have too many inside jokes to remember.“It’s funny because sometimes when we come to practice, Phil will implement some drills that we used to do all the time at Central Michigan,” Sabbag said. “We’ll just look at each other and be like, ‘Do you remember this one? We used to do this one all the time,’ so we have a lot of inside jokes that no one else knows.”Although they’re best friends, their roles on the team have differed. Sabbag, who called transferring one of the best decisions of her life, has started in two games on defense this season. Heitman has seen game action just once.“Skylar’s one of those players who doesn’t get a lot of accolades,” Wheddon said. “But she works hard ­­and is a relentless defender. Defenders don’t always get the glory, but she performs well every day.”Wheddon said Heitman is on the verge of earning more playing time, but she needs to continue to make a consistent effort.Mottershead, Sabbag and Heitman have contributed to a program on the rise that is built on the close-knit foundation that attracted them as transfers.“Syracuse was always welcoming when I came in and everyone adopted me onto the team,” Heitman said. “From day one, I really loved it.”[email protected] Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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